Évora is a hidden gem nestled in the foothills of the Alentejo region in eastern Portugal. The arid climate, endless miles of cork trees and robust red wine (like California Zinfandel) was a worthwhile detour on our way to Nazaré and Lisbon. For a little city, Evora seems to have it all: Roman history, great food and a fun culture of old and new.
Évora is a town of about 44,000 people with a big majority being college students. DUS and I both said it reminded us of San Luis Obispo in California or Lund in Sweden. Like these sister college towns, there is a large amount of young and old people with little residents in the 30 & 40ish range due to lack of industry. The ancient streets are lined with new age, H&M-esique clothing shops, coffee houses with studying students and retired farmers enjoying social time with friends and munching on the delicious Pão de rala.
During our visit, we took a great two hour walking tour that explained the Roman presence including the aqueduct and forum and the “Church of the Bones.” We stayed in a recently restored Baroness’s house called PENSÃO Residencial POLICARPO located with the ancient city wall of historic Evora. This cool old building has 20 different rooms decorated using local style giving it a very pleasant feel. We had a great view of the surrounding country side that awarded us with a beautiful sunrise. This region of Portugal is also famous for its fantastic regional dish, Carne de Porco Alentejana. The dish basically consists of pork with clams cooked in a stew served with fried potatoes. Portugal is mostly known for its fish, but I have to say that this was my favorite dish of our whole trip (and we ate amazing food the whole time). If you are ever in this part of the country, make sure to order Pork with Clams Alentejo Style and the house red – you will not be disappointed.
From Évora we headed further North, passed Lisbon to the village of Nazaré known as the Portuguese Coney Island.